Criminal Justice Advisory BoardIn 1984, New York State enacted the "Classification/Alternatives" law to:

  • help counties reduce overcrowding pressures in local jails
  • facilitate more efficient and practical jail population management, and
  • promote the development and implementation of alternatives to incarceration.

The legislation required counties to establish criminal justice advisory boards and to submit annual service plans that would serve as the funding mechanism for alternatives to incarceration programs.

The county's original board was comprised of 16 members. However, in 1998 board membership was expanded and its mandate broadened to include the implementation of Westchester County's "Action Plan to Correction Overcrowding." In addition, the Criminal Justice Advisory board was charged with the responsibility of

  • monitoring the county's criminal justice system
  • developing on-going strategies to reduce persistent overcrowding
  • implementing programs to achieve that goal.

The current Criminal Justice Advisory board is comprised of approximately 30 members representing various criminal justice and community agencies including the judiciary, law enforcement (police, correction, probation, parole), district attorney, mental health, youth bureau, legal aid, drug/alcohol treatment and educational providers.

In 2011, Westchester County received $605,483 in state assistance that the Criminal Justice Advisory Board used to support numerous programs. Collectively, these programs save the county taxpayers over $100 million annually from incarceration costs. These programs are summarized below.

  • Pre-Trial Services ROR Program - screens offenders in local and county courts; researches background to determine whether the individual is a good risk for release and makes a recommendation to the court.

  • Bail Expediting Program – screens persons detained at the jail and women's unit who are being held on bails of $5,000 or less and free of pending warrants. The program conducts interviews to establish name, relationship and phone numbers of all possible sureties and coordinates the expenditures posting of bail and/or bond.

  • Monitored Release Program (MRP) – screens clients at the jail and women's unit following their first court appearance after arraignment and intensely monitors program participants by daily phone calls and weekly face-to-face units with Pre-Trial staff.

  • Young Offender Program – This program was developed to provide an early release mechanism allowing offenders to serve shorter terms of incarceration in a structured environment. The program is a 60-90 day program operating 16 hours a day. The program components include: education (Boces three to five hours daily), individual and group counseling, vocational counseling, physical exercise and placement and community-based aftercare.

  • Department of Probation Community Service Program - This is an alternative sentencing program that targets jail-bound felony and misdemeanor offenders referred by probation officers, defense attorneys and prosecuting attorneys prior to sentencing.

  • Direct Treatment Alternatives to Incarceration (DTATI) Program – This program links all-day treatment service with specialized on-site probation supervision for alcohol and drug dependent probationers. The DTATI Program utilizes three sites: Yonkers, Greenburgh and Ossining. This is a collaborative program including the Department of Probation, St. John's Riverside Hospital Park Care Pavilion and Phelps Memorial Hospital Center.

  • Department of Community Mental Health – Treatment Alternatives for Safer Communities (TASC) – screens offenders with mental health and drug or alcohol problems and diverts them into an appropriate treatment program where there progress is monitored and reported to the District Attorney, Court, and when appropriate, the Probation Department.